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Gabled polyptych (tabernacle; colonnettes) (Front)

Gabled polyptych (tabernacle; colonnettes) (Front)
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Religious. Infancy of Christ.

Repository Institution

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Pittsburgh, The Carnegie Museum of Art


Ivory;metal (hinges)

Height: 210mm
Width: 160mm (open); 64mm (closed)
Depth: 30mm

Wings, left
Register 1: Annunciation. Nativity with swaddled Christ Child in manger.
Register 2: Birth of John the Baptist; midwife preparing the bath. Annunciation to the Shepherds.
Centre panel
Seated Virgin and Child: Christ standing on the Virgin's left knee; Christ playing with veil of his mother; Christ holding a fruit in his left hand.
Wings, right
Register 1: Adoring Magi (part of the Adoration of the Magi). Coronation of the Virgin.
Register 2: Flight into Egypt. Presentation in the Temple; Virgin holding Christ.
Tracery. Pinnacles. Pierced trefoil in the gable. Pointed trefoils.

Koechlin Number: 0160

Molinier 1890: France, beginning of 14th century.
Koechlin 1924: France, 2nd half of the 14th century.
Randall 1993: English, 2nd quarter of the 14th century.
Museum's opinion 2012: France (Paris), 14th century.


Two sets of two hinges on either side.

Polychromy - Gilding
Traces of gilding and modern polychromy: gold (outer sides of the wings; back; hair); red, green and gold (painted Flamboyant tracery roundels on the base; architectural details).
We know the polychromy is modern, as it does not appear in the 1890 Spitzer catalogue, but it was done before 1900 (Randall 1993).

The base is hollowed out in the back for the insertion of a relic and closed with a rectangular panel.

Object Condition
The pinnacles are carved of separate pieces of ivory. The central spire was broken after 1920. All but two hinges have been repaired with ivory insets.
Missing: part of the Virgin's right hand, originally holding a flower.

Collection of Frédéric Spitzer, Paris: his sale, 1893, lot 82. Boy collection, Paris (1900-1920). Mr and Mrs J. Frederic Byers, Sewickley, Pennsylvania (bought from French and Company, New York): gift of Jeannine Byers, 1956.

La Collection Spitzer (Paris, 1890), I, no. 82 (E. Molinier).
Exposition Universelle de 1900, Catalogue illustré Officiel de l'Exposition Rétrospective de l'Art Français (Paris, 1900), no. 111, ill. p. 16 (as loan from Michel Boy).
E. Molinier, F. Marcou, L'Exposition rétrospective de l'Art français des origines à 1900 (Paris, 1900), p. 6 (ill.).
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, pp. 129, 338; II, no. 160.
R. H. Randall, The Golden Age of Ivory: Gothic Ivory Carvings in North American Collections (New York, 1993), no. 33.


© Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
Credit line: Gift of Jeannine Byers.

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